Richard Byrd

1888 – 1957

Richard Byrd

Richard Byrd

Nationality: American

Place of Birth:

Grave: unknown


Richard E. Byrd was an officer in the US Navy – he learned to fly during World War I and was an Antarctic explorer. It was his wish to be the first person ever to fly over the South Pole. On 25 August 1928, the “City of New York” departed from Hoboken, New Jersey. Onboard were three aircraft – the “Floyd Bennett”, “Stars and Stripes” and the “Virginian”. On 28 December 1928, Byrd entered the Bay of Whales, and on 2 January 1929 the expedition’s base camp was built. They named it Little America. On 14 March 1929, stormy winds grasped the first fastened plane, the “Virginian”, and crashed it. Luckily, no one was on it. After 19 hours, on 29 November 1929, Byrd and his three men crossed the South Pole on the “Floyd Bennett”, and on 5 December 1929 Byrd explored another area by plane. He discovered the Edsel Ford Range and named the land after his wife, Marie Byrd Land. Several days later, on 21 December 1929, Byrd mapped 175 miles along side Queen Maud Mountain. His exploration by air discovered unknown mountain ranges and coast lines. On 18 June 1930, the “City of New York” arrived back at New York and on 25 September 1933 Byrd, onboard the “Bear of Oakland”, sailed from Boston on his second Antarctic voyage. His aim was to do extensive research on the Edsel Ford Range and Marie Byrd Land. He reached the Bay of Whales on 30 January 1934. On land, they rebuilt their first base, Little America, and named it Little America II. Inland, an improved weather base called Advance Base, was built. On 28 March 1934, Byrd was left isolated to do meteorological research. The poor ventilation inside the hut caused him to get carbon monixide poisoning and he came close to his death. Byrd was rescued on 12 October 1934. Mechanized land transport was implemented for the first time in the Antarctic, and extensive biological and geological work were achieved on this expedition. The “Bear of Oakland” arrived back at Dunedin on 20 February 1935.

On 22 November 1939 Byrd began his third Antarctic expedition on the “Bear”. They embarked upon the Bay of Whales on 14 January 1940. On this expedition Byrd discovered new coast lines as well as Thurston Island. They explorers also gathered vital geological and biological samples. Byrd returned to Boston on 18 May 1941.

Between 1946 and 1947, Byrd explored more of the Antarctic Coast. He also led two more expeditions down South after that. He added a great value to the Antarctic exploration.